Black River Orchard

Books on Tape. Sept. 2023. 22:19 hrs. ISBN 9780593606865. $95. HORROR
Wendig’s (Wayward) latest is a well-crafted folk horror that evokes Stephen King’s works but grows into something unique and beautiful. Harrow, PA, is the home of Dan Paxson’s orchard and its renowned Ruby Slipper apples. These apples are not only beautiful and delicious but also rumored to make people stronger, faster, happier, and, eventually, meaner. Many of Harrow’s citizens are willing to do anything for a taste, even though growing this glorious apple requires a few bloody sacrifices. Fans of King’s Needful Things and The Tommyknockers will savor the small-town supernatural corruption, but Wendig also incorporates modern terrors such as social media backlash, relationship gaslighting, and raging prejudice. The audiobook is lengthy, but Wendig makes the most of that time. The full cast of talented narrators keeps the story thundering along, while offering intimate portraits from multiple characters’ points of view as they’re pulled into the apples’ wicked spell.
VERDICT A dream team of narrators, combined with Wendig’s masterful storytelling, makes for a listening experience as intoxicating as a Ruby Slipper apple.
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